The magnum opus of veteran animator Phil Tippet, MAD GOD (2022) is a surreal stop-motion animation horror trip that’s beautiful and puzzling, rolling out like an artist’s scream, a filmmaker’s dream project that amazes you that it somehow got produced.
Currently watchable on Shudder, the film begins with the Assassin descending onto a ruined, mutant, horrible world on what may be a suicide mission under orders from the Last Human. He passes through bizarre landscapes populated by tortured souls, monstrosities, terrible machines, and endless war, and runs afoul of the Surgeon, producing a chain of events leading to the Alchemist creating a new universe that only falls into the same state of decay. A form of decay that never quite dies, one that becomes a malignant ecology of its own.
If that doesn’t make sense, that’s okay. Most of the fun of this creative wonder is simply in beholding. The rest is up to interpretation, if you’re up for it: themes about humanity being prone to its own self destruction, religious allegory about every renewal leading to corruption. Visually, the film is nothing short of astounding in what it achieved technically and aesthetically. MAD GOD rolls out like something Hieronymus Bosch, the painter of the famous landscape of Hell, might have produced if he had the means to produce stop motion animation and a budget.
Otherwise, there’s the emotional impact, which infiltrates more than punches. MAD GOD is nihilistic, sad, horrible. Everything dies, everything is self-absorbed, everything fights everything else to get what it wants, everything beautiful eventually falls into ruin.
Definitely check it out if you’re into–I’m not sure. Something beautifully bleak, horribly interesting, engagingly savage.